Iran shuts down coffee shops in morality crackdown

DUBAI Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:43pm EDT

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian police shut down dozens of restaurants and coffee shops over the weekend, Iranian media reported, in a renewed crackdown on what the state sees as immoral and un-Islamic behavior.

Regular officers and members of the "morality police" raided 87 cafes and restaurants in a single district of the capital Tehran on Saturday and arrested women for flouting the Islamic dress code, according to the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA).

"These places were shut for not following Islamic values, providing hookah to women, and lacking proper licenses," said Tehran police official Alireza Mehrabi, according to ISNA. Women are not allowed to smoke hookah, water pipes, in public.

Mehrabi said the raid came as part of a plan to provide "neighborhood-oriented" security, and would continue in other parts of Tehran.

Coffee shop culture has flourished in Iran in recent years, offering wireless Internet, snacks, hot drinks, and a place to hang out for Iranian youth in a country where there are no bars or Western chain restaurants or cafes.

But that trend has been criticized by conservative Iranians who consider it a cultural imposition from the West and incompatible with Islamic values. The government periodically cracks down on behavior it considers un-Islamic, including mingling between the sexes outside of marriage.

In 2007, Tehran police closed down 24 Internet cafes and other coffee shops in as many hours, detaining 23 people.

(Reporting By Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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Comments (23)
PrinceHapi wrote:
Hookah smoke lounges that serve coffee are part of Islamic culture and go back hundreds of years.

Why all of a sudden it is a problem?

All totalitarian Governments theocratic or otherwise will only make a bunch of angry people who don’t care who it is they vent their anger on as long as they can.

Jul 15, 2012 8:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SalomonWisdom wrote:
Guess they were not catering the the TRUE way of suicide bombing and public stoning. We have to keep standards high you know!

Jul 15, 2012 9:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
BIGEEE1 wrote:
Islam, the tumor on the lung of humanity, continues to show why it is a 7th century religion and culture.

Jul 15, 2012 10:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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